DOES IT REALLY MATTER WHAT
DO IN WORSHIP IF WE ARE SINCERE?
By Cougan Collins
It is common for religious people today to think that as long as they are sincere, and enjoy or find meaningful what they are doing, they can do almost anything in worship. This has led to many innovations into worship, as people seek newer and more exciting worship. Modern man's fascination with new things is not necessarily in accord with God's will, however. Worship is of utmost importance to God, who has demonstrated how serious it is many times, but perhaps no clearer than in the story of Nadab and Abihu.
Nadab and Abihu
were the two oldest sons of Aaron, the first high priest of the Israelites as
they made their way to the Promised Land. As sons of Aaron, they served as
priests, and went into the very presence of God. “Then Moses went up, also Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of
Moses described the death of Nadab and Abihu in Leviticus 10:1-2: “Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them. So fire went out from the LORD and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.” Nadab and Abihu died because they 'offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not.' They were priests, so they were the right people to lead the worship. They each had their censers used in worship, so they had the right implements to offer worship. They burned incense, which was a proper thing to do in worship. They were there at the tabernacle, the right place for worship. They were the right people, with the right implements of worship, doing the right thing, in the right place, but doing all of this in the wrong way, so God destroyed them! Even their father Aaron realized they had disobeyed God. “Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them. So fire went out from the LORD and devoured them, and they died before the LORD” (Leviticus 10:3).
Nadab and Abihu received instant punishment from God for disobeying Him by doing what He had not commanded. They were probably very sincere, but they displeased God. Jesus called the scribes and Pharisees hypocrites because they cared more about what they wanted in worship than what God wanted. He condemned them, saying, "Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: 'These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men' " (Matthew 15:7-9). If we add anything to our worship that God has not commanded, then we are offering the vain worship of disobedience. We invite you to worship and study with us to learn more about first century Christianity – lgchurchofchrist.com. Adapted from Bob Prichard